As a type of arthritis, gout occurs because of increased levels of uric acid in the blood and can cause painful inflammation in the joints, particularly at the base of the big toe and sometimes affecting ankles, heels, fingers and wrists.
Gout can cause repeated bouts of pain in some cases, but there are some natural remedies for gout that may be able to treat your symptoms and help prevent the problem from coming back.
As always, it’s safest to consult a medical professional when you begin trying new treatments of any kind.
For relief now, use these pain-minimizing strategies
There are medications that can be prescribed or recommended for treating gout, but if you are strictly looking at non-medicated options for pain relief, here are some strategies that can help. During an actual attack, these tips can help you get through the flare-up as quickly as possible without further aggravating your situation.
Ice the joint
For 20 to 30 minutes, keep a cold pack applied to your joint. Icing the area can actually reduce inflammation, which can relieve pain and give you a nice break. If the cold pack helps, you can actually go ahead and ice your joint a few times a day.
Rest your foot
When a serious bout of gout attacks your toe, it can be hard to walk so minimize your pain by resting the joint as much as you can. When gout strikes other joints, rest those body parts as much as possible, too. Yes, life doesn’t stand still when you’re in pain, but call in sick from work if you need to or get a babysitter to watch the toddler if you’re not in a position to be running after her today. Others around you may not understand how severely debilitating this kind of condition can be, but you still have to take care of yourself by demanding the rest that your body needs.
Elevate the joint
In addition to icing and resting the joint, go ahead and prop your limb up on a pillow or a few stacked blankets. Make a nice rest area that doesn’t strain any other joints but fully supports your body with the gout-affected area raised. This helps the blood easily flow away from the site, helping your pain to lessen and your body to work more efficiently in taking care of business.
Drink lots of water
Drinking 8 to 16 cups of a healthful fluid each day helps remove uric acid from your body, and being dehydrated actually makes those uric acid levels rise. Water is the best solution for your body when it comes to drinking liquids, but you can supplement a few glasses a day with other products like natural juices or low-fat milk.
For calming an attack, try these natural remedies
Some foods and treatments have a potential for either lowering your uric acid levels overall or dissolving the actual uric acid crystals that have been deposited into your joints. Using one of these strategies, you may be able to help treat a current attack naturally over the course of a few days.
Be conservative about how many approaches you try at once, though, because having too little uric acid can also make you sick.
Of course you can implement multiple habits that are practically universally healthy, like minimizing your saturated fat intake and avoiding alcohol consumption, but be careful when trying to combine methods like eating a cup of cherries everyday and taking multiple vitamin C tablets. Try out one remedy at a time or talk with a doctor about using multiple treatments at once.
In studies, cherries have been connected with reduced levels of uric acid. Increasing your consumption of cherries as well as other fruits like blackberries, blueberries and purple grapes may be able to assist you in your quest for a gout-free life. While eating a cup of these berries everyday for a few days, you may see your gout symptoms disappear by the end of the week.
Apple cider vinegar
Drinking a large glass of water with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar may be able to help dissolve your uric acid crystals. You should be able to drink this kind of mixture 1 to 3 times a day for a few days or up to a week, hopefully at which point you’ll see the positive effects of such a remedy and not need to continue with the treatment anymore.
Vitamin C, whether added to your system through eating fruits like oranges or through taking a supplement, may be able to lower the amount of uric acid in your body. When taking supplements, however, you have to be careful about dosages because the adage “too much of a good thing” applies.
If you are vitamin-C deficient, you don’t have to be as conservative when picking out a multivitamin, but for the rest of us, taking too much vitamin C can actually have the reverse effect and can cause our uric acid levels to be raised. As always, talk with a medical professional about optimal doses for your personal situation.
As a sidenote, one of the best natural sources of vitamin C is the Brazilian superstar fruit camu camu. Per serving, camu camu is up to 60 times richer in vitamin C than an orange. A teaspoon of camu camu powder contains 1180% of your recommended daily intake for vitamin C.
For long-run success, change your lifestyle habits
To prevent gout attacks from recurring, you may be interested in making some everyday changes to reveal a healthier you. By watching what you eat and drink, your body may be able to find a stable balance regarding uric acid levels. No more painful gout? Yes, please.
Limit your consumption of meat, poultry and fish
Animal meats are high in a compound named purine, which forms uric acid when oxidized. When outlining your daily meal plans, limit your total intake of these products to 4 to 6 ounces.
Get your protein from other sources
You still need protein for your situation to not get any worse, but choose healthy types of food like fat-free dairy products, tofu and eggs to get your protein from. You don’t need to go crazy, though; just eat a moderate amount.
Watch your saturated fat
If you have too much saturated fat in your system, your body’s ability to get rid of uric acid will be diminished. Cut down on the fat, opting for healthy choices instead. Obesity in general has been linked to gout so avoid a diet that contributes to weight gain and health problems.
Don’t drink alcohol
Your body can’t function properly with alcohol running through your system so just avoid it entirely. Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, malnutrition and damage to your central nervous system, but more directly, alcohol itself can be the cause of having abnormally-high levels of uric acid in your blood, which is medically known as hyperuricemia.
Especially if you struggle with recurrent gout attacks, find the strength and self-discipline to give up alcohol for good and your body will forever thank you.
Keep your body warm
Low temperatures can actually trigger gout attacks, possibly because of temperature-dependent precipitation of uric acid crystals. You can still ice your joint for pain relief and inflammation help when actually suffering from an attack, as detailed above, but when it’s not time for a cold pack, you may be benefited by keeping your body in a nice state of warmth.
Especially at night when your body’s temperature naturally drops, be sure to turn up the heater or get under the blankets. Don’t forget, a warm bath before bed may also be good for preventing gout and good for relaxing your mind before you try to sleep.